Second FDA Warning Letter to Sunshine Mills – Truth about Pet Food

Dated March 7, 2022, the FDA issued a Warning Letter to pet food manufacturer Sunshine Mills. This is the second Warning Sunshine Mills has received from FDA in 3 years (previous Warning dated June 25, 2019).

The 2019 FDA Warning to Sunshine Mills found this pet food manufacturer “failed to identify and implement preventive controls“. In this warning the FDA told Sunshine Mills they “failed to implement adequate preventive controls to ensure your inclusion of vitamin D did not result in a nutrient toxicity or deficiency“.

Since the 2019 FDA Warning, Sunshine Mills has had the following recalls:

8/26/2020 – Salmonella contamination.

9/3/2020 – Aflatoxin contamination.

10/8/2020 – Aflatoxin contamination.

6/4/21 – Salmonella contamination.

7/29/21 – Aflatoxin contamination.

As evidenced by the recalls, and stated in the 2022 Warning to Sunshine Mills – the FDA again found that this pet food manufacturer “failed to identify and implement preventive controls” just like in 2019. This time Sunshine Mills failed to prevent mycotoxin contamination and Salmonella in their pet foods.

Some excerpts from the 2022 Warning:

On February 12, 2021, your firm’s laboratory tested a sample of finished dog food kibble, Evolve Chicken and Rice Dog Formula (b)(4), and detected an elevated aflatoxin level of 32.7 ppb. This is an indication that you failed to implement your ingredient testing preventive control, resulting in the use of an ingredient containing elevated levels of aflatoxin.”

Furthermore, your firm failed to implement your preventive control when you failed to follow the manufacturer’s mycotoxin test kit instructions...”

You failed to maintain animal food contact surfaces to protect animal food from being contaminated…”

You failed to keep your plant clean and in good repair to prevent animal food from becoming adulterated…”

During our inspection, FDA investigators observed evidence of roof leaks throughout your post-lethal treatment pet food processing areas during production and dripping onto the floor in high foot traffic areas. FDA investigators also observed rainwater running down food processing equipment during production.”

Sunshine Mills manufactures the following brands:

Sunshine Mills also co-packs multiple other brands – it is unknown how many different brands they produce today (unfortunately companies are not required to disclose this information to consumers). In 2019, the excess vitamin D recalls showed that Sunshine Mills produced the brands Natural Life, Nutrisca, Orlando, and Natural Life pet foods.

If you provide your pet with any of these brands or you know someone who does, please read the full Warning Letter.

Question: When a company is repeatedly found to fail to prevent deadly adulteration in their pet foods – a legal requirement, should they be allowed to continue to manufacture pet food?

Wishing you and your pet the best –

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Association for Truth in Pet Food

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